(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on December 5, 2011) Total spirits sales grew 2.8% by volume in the 52-week period ending November 12, 2011 to 57.7 million cases, according to the latest figures from Nielsen. Off-premise growth was even faster on a dollar basis, up 3.5% to $8.37 billion over the same time period.
Vodka, rum, Bourbon and cordials/liqueurs continue to be the biggest sellers in Nielsen channels, but double-digit growth was recorded over the past 52 weeks by prepared cocktails, flavored vodkas and Irish whiskey. Skinnygirl Margarita and Malibu Cocktails led the increase in prepared cocktails, while Jameson continued to spearhead the growth of Irish whiskies. Pinnacle Whipped led the advance of flavored vodkas, and including the Cherry, Orange and Chocolate variants, the Pinnacle Whipped line is projected to sell close to one million cases total by year-end.
Ultra-premium spirits (average price of $35.43 a 750-ml.) comprised less than 5% of overall volume but were the fastest-growing price segment, up 10.3% by volume in the 52-week period. Premium-priced spirits ($18.22 a 750-ml. on average) grew 4.5% by volume, while mid-priced brands ($10.58 average) increased 2.6%. Value-priced spirits ($6.62 average) lagged the industry at just 1.1% growth, another sign that consumers might be trading up a bit in the off-premise, even in an uncertain economy.
Nielsen tracks alcohol sales in food/drug/liquor stores and other select channels that collectively account for 30% of the total U.S. spirits market by volume, as estimated by Impact.